A court decision made earlier today has ruled that Apple does not have exclusive rights to the “iPhone” trademark in the country of Brazil. This decision was made by Brazilian regulators who have found that the company Gradiente Electronica‘s registering of the iPhone name in the year 2000 takes away Apple’s ability to have the name cornered. Registering the name iPhone seven years before the Apple, Gradiente has released a device called “iPhone Neo One” just this past December.
It’s understood that Apple will be attempting to get an appeal, this according to the Institute of Industrial Property speaking with the BBC. Oddly enough, it would appear that Apple does have exclusive rights to the iPhone brand on everything that isn’t a smartphone – cords, accessories, and everything in-between. Meanwhile Gradiente retains an option to sue Apple for exclusivity of the iPhone name on smartphones.
As long as Gradiente refrains from suing Apple, the iPhone (be it an iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, or otherwise), will continue to be allowed to be sold. The Gradiente smartphone iPhone Neo One continues to be sold throughout the country as a rather basic Android-based smartphone. Apple is currently arguing that they should be given exclusive rights to the iPhone name because Gradiente did not release a device with the name until December of 2012.
Barring appeal, it would appear that both companies will continue to sell their own devices with “iPhone” in the name with awkward keyword searches abound. It is quite likely, on the other hand, that Apple will earn appeal and the case will continue into the near future. Stay tuned for more Brazilian trademark battle action!